I am Powered By Drupal!

First, the good stuff:  It’s ALIVE!  You can go to katekosturski.com, which will redirect you to katekosturski.info and you can see my shiny new Drupal site.  I am officially powered by Drupal!

(I may have actually cackled like Frankenstein when I refreshed the page after the FTP upload.  Maybe. Okay, definitely.) 

The direct site is actually now katekosturski.info instead of katekosturski.net.  The latter domain had some problems registering and propagating, but katekosturski.info was up and running nearly straightaway.  (Important to note:  I am not a patient person.) Fortunately the good folk at Dreamhost were able to resolve all issues, including a serious lag in getting my account approved, very quickly.

Some good soul at the American Library Association thought the original I Built a Drupal Thing post was impressive enough to feature in this week’s AL Direct newsletter.  I’m in the Tech Talk section near the end.  Whomever you are that did this, thank you. 🙂 

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 6.54.47 PM

Today’s work on the site was a mix of cleanup and experiments:

  • Moving my files from external linking via Dropbox to my host server, and renaming them. I have the space on Dreamhost; why rely on a third party provider?  (I still cannot believe the crappy naming conventions I had used. Spaces in filenames? Really?)  
  • Checking and rechecking and re-rechecking links to make sure they worked.  Much of this was using relative filenames to check content when the site was in beta mode.  Those had to be removed when the site went live, and when your site goes live at 11:30 PM EST you’re not going to catch every little thing because it’s already past your bedtime.
  • Setting up a content block on the site to show the latest posts from the blog.  I keep the external site for the blog (though I do plan to install a WordPress module and blog right from the site), but users can see the latest 4 posts right in the navigation (with links that take you right to the site):

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.02.38 PMThis is done through the core Aggregator module, though others tell me there are similar modules out there.   For what I wanted to do, Aggregator worked best.  There is an option to view the entire blog on the site, but it is the RSS feed of the blog and I don’t recommend it for two reasons:

  1. It looks really messy.  It is not good content strategy. 
  2. The screenshots I like to use do not show up in the feed. 

Now this was actually a little tricky to do – the block with the content showed up when I was logged in, but not when I logged out of the site.  Permissions on the block did not work – the secret is in the permissions tab under the People -> Permissions.   You want to ensure that the boxes for Anonymous and Authenticated users under “View News Feeds” are checked:

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.33.12 PM

Look close and you’ll see that I had to search on drupal.org to figure this solution out for myself first.  That is the beauty of Drupal – community based solutions.  🙂 

There is, of course, still much to learn – content types and views are another long term project.  The Drupal core has the basic Article and Basic Page content types, but you can include others to fit your needs, such as for a graduate school portfolio or a job posting site.  These add to the dynamic feel of a site – type your information into the content type form, and the page will populate according to the parameters you have set in the content type.  Views are simply previews of how information populated into the form.

If you want to learn more about my (very basic) experiences, I am giving a Virtual Lightning Talk for the Code4Lib group on 3 April at 1:30 PM EST.  Title: How I Taught Myself Drupal in a Weekend (And You Can Too).  This will cover my experiences in building a Drupal site, getting around the basic content, the troubleshooting I encountered, and some ways you can dive in (head first? :)) to learning Drupal.

Exciting? Yes.  Fun?  Completely. Frustrating? At times. (See difficulties with getting feed block to show up when not logged in site.)   Worthwhile?  Absolutely.  How long before Drupal Camp CT 2013?  🙂

A final note:  The top item in the navigation on the site relates to the American Library Association elections that are taking place this week through 26 April.  The ALA Think Tank Caucus for Council is a self-aligned group of librarians (note that we are not endorsed by ALA; we formed this group independently)  that are running for the ALA Council, the policy making body of the association.  The page I host on my site includes links to the web presence of my fellow candidates, election information, my candidate statement, our Facebook page, and my responses to a Facebook Q&A held in February.  If you are an ALA Member in good standing as of 31 January 2013, we would all appreciate your vote.  

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